This much of the background of these men is needed to understand the
significance of their meeting. It is also important to recall that
Boynton was extremely reserved. He possessed little intellectual
culture, was regarded as an honest, unambitious man of very moderate
wealth. Probably Whitcomb knew him better than others, yet it is
equally probable that he was somewhat surprised when his cousin
disclosed the purpose of his call.
No record of the conversation exists, yet from subsequent statements
by Whitcomb, it may be assumed that Boynton discussed his
circumstances and his desire to dispose of his wealth before he
died. He was then seventy-three, and in failing health. His second
wife was dead, leaving him childless and with no near relatives.
He disclosed to Whitcomb that he had somewhat over one hundred
thousand dollars, which he wished to donate for some educational
institution that would provide opportunities that both of them had
been denied. It was in his mind that a school where young people could
receive a practical education might be established in Mason or
Templeton. He had little vision of what the scope of the school should
be, but insisted that it should be free.
Whitcomb agreed that this was a very worthy proposal and readily
accepted the trusteeship of the funds until such time as a definite
plan could be put into operation. He pointed out to Boynton that
although income from his gift would probably be adequate for the
educational purposes of the school, some other sources of funds must
be found for buildings and equipment. Hence he urged that the school
be located in Worcester, where there were men of wealth who might be
influenced to contribute to its physical development. He secured
permission from Boynton to lay the plan before certain citizens of
Worcester who possessed the education and vision needed to work out
details. It was agreed, however, that no mention of the donor's name
would be made until all plans were complete.